Major League Baseball takes swing at Sling Media

Sling enables TV viewers to access their set-top or TiVo boxes from anywhere in the world via any device that connects to the Web. MLB says that’s fine, but if viewers want to watch on multiple devices, they have to pay multiple times.

The situation is part of a larger fight brewing between broadcasters and the companies that relay video streams to portable devices.

But we’re not talking Napster here, argues Buchanan. The cable subscriber in such a scenario already purchased the content from a programmer back home and under the law can watch it wherever he or she chooses, he said.

“Your interpretation of the (cable and satellite user agreement) is wrong,” Kliavkoff told Buchanan as the two spoke before some 200 conference attendees. Sling Media users “are violating the scope of their user agreements.”

“The bottom line,” he said, “is I’d hate to be a lawyer arguing that I want consumers to pay twice for content.”

  1. Higghawker says:

    I’m a Royals fan, anyone want to pay me to watch them?

  2. homelessDepot says:

    This is not at all surpising to me given the sometimes absurd restrictions MLB already puts on its TV product.

    For instance, if you want to watch your home market team on their website (for a fee) in your home market, even if it’s an away game and not on local TV, you can’t.

    Also of particular annoyance is the way they block out national HD broadcast when it is being shown on a local affiliate (although this may be a Comcast thing as opposed to an MLB thing, still damned annoying).

    They should really want people to be exposed to the product no matter how they do it. In the end this is the model that always ends up with the strongest product, but in their short-sighted greed they seem to miss this point time and time again.


  3. Kevin says:

    It’s obvious why MLB would want to infringe on fans viewing habits; to protect existing revenue streams. MLB currently offers low-res streams to all live games for $50 per year ( Because Sling does not have the capabilities to stream live video the two should not be compared; but the way lawyers think ($$$), they are the one and the same

    Remember, this is the same organization that is fighting in court to have their players stats classified/protected as intellectual property not historical facts. Again, logic and customer satisfaction take a back seat to cash.

  4. Vince says:

    All of these companies apparently acquire their knowledge of technology from their grandparents.

    “Sling box? I’ve got a sling blade, is that the same thing?”

    They probably heard streaming video and MLB mentioned in the same sentence, and went apesh*t. Slingbox is exactly the same concept as taping a game with a VCR, then taking that tape with you to a hotel or somewhere else with a VCR to play it on. It’s not realtime.

  5. Stephen says:

    I don’t know what Slingbox you guys are talking about… But it most certainly does allow you to stream live TV… Still, MLB is crazy if they want to try to stop someone from their product this way…

  6. Angel H. Wong says:

    And they still wonder why people are watching less baseball?

    IMNSHO Baseball is almost as boring as watching golf.

  7. Tod White says:

    “The bottom line,” he said, “is I’d hate to be a lawyer arguing that I want consumers to pay twice for content.”

    yeahhh… better get lessons from RIA (SIRA).
    They’ll teach you how to screw-over consumers 20 times a day…

  8. Barrett says:

    “I’m a Royals fan, anyone want to pay me to watch them?”

    As a Nationals fan, can I get the same deal? Looks like I’m gonna be watching more Sportscenter.

  9. Pat Larkin says:

    Want to watch with both eyes at once?
    That’ll cost you double!


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